Confirmation & Conflict

By Jim Ellis

July 15, 2016 — New just-released Senate polls either confirm or contradict other data that we covered earlier in the week.

An unusual identical confirmation occurred in Iowa, where two pollsters arrived at the exact same result when testing the contest between Sen. Charles Grassley (R) and former Lt. Gov. Patty Judge (D). Wednesday, NBC/Wall Street Journal/Marist College released their Hawkeye State poll of 822 registered voters, and the Senate results determined Grassley to be leading Judge, 52-42 percent.

As noted earlier this week, Monmouth University (July 8-11; 401 registered Iowa voters) projected the exact same 52-42 percent spread. This gives us a solid indication that Sen. Grassley has increased his lead to low double-digits after taking a dip over the Supreme Court hearing controversy.

Monmouth also polled Colorado directly after Harper Polling completed their study. Monmouth (July 9-12; 404 likely Colorado voters) finds Sen. Michael Bennet (D) in better position than Harper does. As you may remember from our previous report, Harper (July 7-9; 500 registered Colorado voters) found a relatively tight split, with Sen. Bennet leading Republican nominee Darryl Glenn, an El Paso County Commissioner, 46-40 percent. Monmouth’s number, taken in a slightly later three-day period, sees a more robust 48-35 percent Bennet lead.

Considering the more than 70:1 resource ratio that Sen. Bennet enjoys over Commissioner Glenn, and national Republicans virtually ignoring their new nominee after he won a crowded mid-June primary, it is likely that the Monmouth numbers give us the more accurate picture of the Colorado campaign’s status.

NBC/WSJ/Marist also polled Ohio. In this race, all pollsters over the past several months concur that the early contest between Sen. Rob Portman (R) and former Gov. Ted Strickland (D) is a virtual dead heat…and NBC/Marist is no different.

According to their data (848 registered voters), both Sen. Portman and Strickland attract 44 percent support. This confirms the preponderance of previous poll results.

NBC/WSJ/Marist also just completed a Pennsylvania poll. Here, the results from their 829-person sampling cell yield a major conflict with every other recent Keystone State Senate survey. While the previous studies project Sen. Pat Toomey (R) to be developing a lead in the high single-digits, the NBC/Marist poll finds challenger Katie McGinty (D) moving ahead of the first-term senator. Their result posts her to a 47-44 percent margin.

The Pennsylvania result also conflicts regarding the presidential campaign. While Donald Trump has closed the gap to low single digits against Hillary Clinton in the latest available data, this poll finds Clinton up 45-36 percent, and 43-35-8 percent when Libertarian Gary Johnson is tested. The NBC/WSJ/Marist result could suggest a Democratic skew or a developing new statewide trend.

The final new survey comes from Wisconsin, where recent polling casts challenger Russ Feingold (D) with leads ranging from one to 12 points.

The Marquette Law School poll (July 7-10; 801 registered Wisconsin voters) finds Feingold topping Sen. Ron Johnson (R) 45-41 percent, which is actually one of the incumbent’s better performances. Marquette has proven to be an accurate Wisconsin pollster during the past two election cycles, so this may well be a reliable number. If so, then the Wisconsin Senate race is beginning to close.

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